Isabella Pollok, a member of the Sarah Lawrence sex cult featured in the Hulu docuseries “Stolen Youth,” was sentenced Wednesday to 54 months in federal prison.
Pollok, 31, pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy to commit money laundering, avoiding a trial. According to prosecutors, she served as the chief lieutenant to Lawrence Ray, who relied on her to gain the trust of young women whom he would exploit for sex and money.
Ray was sentenced in January to 60 years in prison, after being convicted of extortion, sex trafficking and racketeering.
Under her plea agreement, Pollok faced a maximum of five years in prison. Her attorneys argued, however, that she should face no jail time, and stated that Ray had “brainwashed” her into doing his bidding.
“Isabella did whatever Ray directed,” the defense argued in a sentencing memo. “She does not deny that she enforced his bizarre edicts and philosophies. Rather, by pleading guilty, she has accepted full responsibility for her conduct.”
Pollok had a sexual relationship with Ray. Prosecutors alleged that she also managed his finances and helped enforce his domination over the cult victims. The prosecution also stated that she participated in the torture of Claudia Drury, who had been forced into prostitution.
“The extensive documentary evidence in this case bears no indication of remorse, ambivalence, guilt, or horror on the part of defendant for her role in the victimization of her former roommates and friends,” the prosecution argued, in seeking the full, 60-month sentence.
Pollok was indicted in January 2021. Her defense team states that she has since worked with mental health counselors to “separate from Ray and their shared delusional beliefs” and to “break away” from his control.
“I am truly ashamed of my conduct and the pain I caused others,” she wrote in a letter to the judge. “I know I committed serious crimes and I fully accept responsibility for my actions… Lawrence ‘s hold over me changed who I was and it continues to be a healing process.”
The defense also submitted a letter from Drury, who asked for leniency and said she did not blame Pollok for participating in the torture or for forcing her into prostitution.
“I do not believe she had any true capacity to stop Larry or mitigate what he was doing to me in any way, psychologically or physically,” she wrote. “I don’t believe she had an honest choice, or much of any kind of choice.”